Fresh Cut: 4 meat secrets from a real butcherFood The List
Grilling is a huge part of summer and where you buy your meat has just as much to do with the success of your meal as your skill with the grill. Kristina Guerrero met with butcher David Grant to find out what we need to know about buying fresh cuts.
1. Less Than Fresh Beef
Network News reports have shown some supermarkets are pushing expiration dates out by more than a week and only twenty states regulate date labeling at all. Why do supermarkets sell meats that they shouldn't? There's a lot of pressure in those environments to meet their numbers and their quotas. Most butchers will take the loss to gain your business.
2. Counterfeit Cuts
The most counterfeited meat is hamburger. If there's old beef that didn't sell the previous day most butchers will add a little blood to it, re-grind it – now you have fresh ground beef for three more days. The only way to know you're getting good hamburger is to ask the guy behind the counter to grind the meat in front of you.
3. Recognizing Quality Cuts
How do you know you're getting a bad piece of meat? The fat will always tell you the truth. Stay away from a greenish yellow color or slime. Don’t be afraid of brown spots. Sometimes meat touches each other or maybe it's been sitting a little bit before it was wrapped and that will cause the spots.
4. The Nose Knows
If you walk in and it has a rancid death odor, obviously don’t buy it. Make sure your butcher is observing good sanitary practices, when you come in you'll just smell a meat shop. At the end of the day the butcher shop is about personalized service and quality meats.
WEB BONUS: 3 Top Cuts of Meat Under $10
1. Flat Iron Steak
Flat Iron steak is the second most tender fillet mignon. It is important to make sure that this cut is “de-nuded” (tendon removal) as it has a very thick tendon going through it. Most supermarkets carry them without any issues. It's best cooked rare (120f) to medium rare (126f). Salt, pepper, a little garlic is all you need. It’s great on salads or by itself with a baked potato.
2. Top Round Cap Steak
Top round cap steak is a sleeper of a steak. It can be substituted for a flank or skirt steak, but is much tenderer. This is also best cooked rare (120f) to medium rare (126f) and is very versatile. It can be used as fajita meat, a very tender stir fry, marinated and cooked with rice and beans. Supermarkets may carry the cut if the cap is still on the top round in the box. Chances are the cutters won't know the cut and may not be allowed to only take it off because it's harder to sell London broil without it on.
3. Hanger Steak
This steak is very VERY good. I would suggest only cooking this cut rare (125F). The flavor is bold and resembles the top round cap and flank steak very much. It's “V-shaped” and needs to be denuded. This steak goes well with a starchy side. Favorite seasoning for this is olive oil, fresh chopped garlic, salt, pepper, and rosemary.
Big thanks to The Meat Shop!
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